Test Time is the first Escape Room for the home from the Deckscape series in a practical pocket format. In Deckscape Test Time, the player slips into the role of physics students awaiting an exam with their quirky professor Doc Thymes.
The Deckscape games are portable escape games from the publisher Abacusspiele and consist of a large stack of large-format cards. In addition, all you need is a pen and paper for notes and a clock to stop the time. You can go on the adventure alone or in a group of up to 6 friends (or as a family).
Deckscape Test Time is already the third game we have played from this series. Two of us ventured into it, which we were confident about, as we’re already becoming little Escape Room pros. Our reviews of the best Berlin Escape Games can be found on a separate page.
Apart from the other Deckscape games The Fate of London and Robbery in Venice, we have already tried out a few escape games for home from other publishers that differ significantly in terms of gameplay, including the Exit game Verlassene Hütte by Kosmos-Verlag and some Exit Puzzles by Ravensburger, e.g. the Exit Puzzle Sternwarte.
How much fun is this pocket Escape Room Game?
How solvable are the puzzles in Deckscape Test Time?
And for whom is it worth buying this game?
Note: Kindly, the publisher Abacusspiele sent us a review copy of Deckscape Test Time. However, this review is unpaid and gives our independent and honest opinion.
Story: The somewhat quirky Doc Thymes welcomes you to his laboratory. A test has been scheduled for today, because the slightly crazy scientist wants to test what you have learned from him and how good your logical thinking and combination skills are. But then it happens: just before it is supposed to start, Doc Thymes hits a red button. Immediately the whole lab is sealed off and to make matters worse, a trapdoor opens under Doc Thymes, through which he disappears.
What a drama! Or is it all part of the test?
Deckscape Test Time basically consists of a deck of 60 numbered cards. Unlike other card games, however, the cards may not be shuffled here, but are picked up and turned over in exactly the same order as they are in the game box at the beginning.
In addition, it is recommended to have a clock as well as notepaper and a pen ready.
The large-format cards are atmospherically and sometimes quite wittily illustrated. As with all the games in the Deckscape series, graphic designer Alberto Bontempi is responsible for the design, whose style of clean lines both supports the story and presents the picture puzzles well.
A big advantage of the Deckscape games is that you don’t have to read a game manual first. You can just play and gradually learn everything you need to know. First, you place the deck of cards exactly as it was packaged in the middle of the table and start reading card 1. If there are several players, it is best if one reads aloud.
In this way you work your way from card to card and puzzle to puzzle. The cards also tell you exactly when to start and stop time. There are cards that you “use up”, i.e. you can put them aside after you have solved the puzzle depicted on them. Other cards, on the other hand, represent objects that you find in the Escape Room and place face up in the middle of the table. An item is usually used a little later in the game, sometimes even several times.
As in Live Escape Games, you solve puzzles in parallel in Deckscape Test Time by dividing the rest of the cards into 4 different coloured piles. If there are several players, they can solve several puzzles at the same time. But beware! For many puzzles, you have to make progress on one of the other piles before you can solve it at all.
Depending on whether and how you pass Doc Thymes’ test, there are 4 alternative story endings, which also affect the score. For every mistake you make, you have to add 5 minutes to your time. But shortly before the end, a decision has to be made and depending on which one it is, you may ignore none, one, two or even three mistakes.
For example, we took 49 minutes, but made 5 mistakes. We were allowed to ignore one of them. So we got a result of 69 minutes. At least we didn’t completely fail… 😀
Most of the puzzles in Deckscape Test Time are logical picture puzzles. By this I mean that the solution is reached by looking at one, sometimes several pictures and by logical deduction. For some of them you only need the puzzle card itself, but for others the answer requires objects that you only find in the course of the game, e.g. a bunch of keys, a torch or a piece of paper with helpful notes.
Compared to the other two Deckscape games we already knew, we found the puzzles in this one the easiest on average, with the difficulty gradually increasing as the game progresses. Nevertheless, we made a few mistakes, mostly because we were too hasty and thought we already had the right solution. In one case, for example, we solved a puzzle incorrectly because we did not yet have the item we needed. The lesson from this: read carefully what is written on each card.
What did we like, what less? And above all: is it worth it for you, dear reader, to buy Deckscape Test Time?
In general, all games in the Deckscape series have in common that they come in a super practical pocket format and that the game material almost always consists exclusively of cards (in the case of the Rape of Venice, a map is also included). This means that the game can be played anywhere, for example on a train journey or outside on a picnic blanket. While in some other Escape Games for the home the material is used up after one game because you have to damage or change some of it, another advantage of the Deckscapes is that you can give the game to someone else afterwards or lend it to friends who don’t know it yet.
Compared to the other two Deckscape games we know so far, Deckscape Test Time is the easiest. This makes it the ideal entry-level game for anyone who has never played an escape game before, because you will have a quick sense of achievement with the first puzzles, especially at the beginning. Conversely, however, this also means that those who are looking for a big challenge and for whom puzzles can’t be tricky enough are better off with the other parts.
The type of puzzles here is also not quite as varied as in Robbery in Venice or The Fate of London, but that didn’t bother us. On the contrary, the fact that all three parts are different and that there are a lot of items in the test compared to the other parts makes for variety. However, at a puzzle map relatively near the end, we found it very difficult to recognise the detail on the picture that mattered according to the solution.
Everyone who likes to crack puzzles and solve tasks with concentration under time pressure will have great fun. Deckscape Test Time is great for a group of puzzle lovers or for families with children over 12. In our experience, such games don’t work so well if someone is not quite up to it or doesn’t have much fun with puzzles.
Deckscape Test Time is also a good candidate as a solo game, e.g. for a long train journey.
Picture and logic puzzles as well as a funny story about time travel and a mad scientist make for great puzzling fun. Also ideal as an introduction to the world of Escape Games at home!
*This article contains so-called affiliate links. This means that if you order a product through it, we receive a small commission without changing the price for the buyer.
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